Minidoka Project, Idaho 1918, Photo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, of the U.S. Department of the Interior

Minidoka Project, Idaho 1918, Photo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, of the U.S. Department of the Interior


Mapping Meaning brings together artists, scientists and scholars to explore new modes of acting in the face of social and ecological crises. Inspired by a photograph from 1918 depicting an all-female survey crew, Mapping Meaning supports the creative work and scholarship of those working at edges and ecotones, who are pushing against traditional disciplinary boundaries. Since 2010 this multi-generational collective has been gathering together around experimental knowledge practices.

The project is rooted in five-day experimental workshops that take place biennially at biological field stations in the USAmerican West. Selected women come from across the Americas representing a wide diversity of perspectives and disciplines including: visual art, geology, American Indian Studies, entomology, film, ecology, architecture, American Studies, dance, creative writing, visual anthropology, geography, GIS–land surveying, ethnobotany, permaculture, business, civil & environmental engineering, and folklore.

In a deeply fragmented and disciplined-based world, Mapping Meaning creates a space to encounter divergent approaches toward “surveying” human, ecological and technological landscapes, and ardently resists oversimplification. Through workshops, exhibitions, and transdisciplinary research, Mapping Meaning promotes a radical reconsideration of the role humanity plays in a more-than-human world.



2010: Pilot Year

Dixie National Forest, Red Canyon, Utah


2012: Ecotone: site of opportunity, experimentation, creativity & emergency

Capitol Reef Field Station, Utah


2014: abcBLITZ (aesthetics, biology, culture)

Canyonlands Research Center, Utah


2016: Changing the Subject: Edges, Narratives and Encounters

Santa Cruz Island Reserve, Channel Islands National Park, California


2018: Information coming soon


Krista Caballero
Founder / Director

Krista Caballero is an interdisciplinary artist exploring issues of agency, survival, and environmental change in a more-than-human world. Moving freely between traditional and emerging media, her work creates situations for encountering alternative ecological and social landscapes. In 2010 she created Mapping Meaning, an ongoing project that brings together artists, scientists and scholars through experimental workshops, exhibitions, and transdisciplinary research.

Caballero received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University and was recently selected as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. Her work has been presented across the United States as well as internationally in exhibitions and festivals such as the International Symposium on Electronic Art in Dubai and New Mexico, “Paradoxes in Video” at Mohsen Gallery in Tehran, and RAY2018 in Frankfurt, Germany. Caballero is currently the Associate Director of the Center for Experimental Humanities (EH) at Bard College.



Sylvia Torti
Associate Director

Sylvia Torti earned her Ph.D. in biology concentrating on questions of diversity and tropical forests in Africa and Central America. In 2005, her novel, The Scorpion’s Tail, won the Miguel Marmol Prize for first work by an American of Latina descent. This novel was inspired by her experiences witnessing the Zapatista uprising while on location conducting research. 

Her second novel, CAGES, won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Litearture and is forthcoming from Schaffner Press in 2017. Set in and around a research laboratory in which two scientists are experimenting on birds to discover the origins of memory and birdsong, CAGES is a complex interweaving of biological, philosophical and mystical themes. It is also a story of love, loss and memory as the two scientists vie for the heart of a young research assistant, yet like the birds whose songs they have muted, are unable to express their true feelings for her; and she in turn refuses to be "caged." The themes of music and birdsong resonate throughout this examination of human and animal relationships

From 2009-2012, she served as Associate Director of Rio Mesa Center, an interdisciplinary field center on the Colorado Plateau. Torti is Dean of the Honors College at the University of Utah.


Much gratitude and thanks goes to S.A. Bachman for believing in the vision of Mapping Meaning and helping get the project off the ground in 2010. 

Many thanks to the Honors College at the University of Utah and the Honors College at the University of Maryland, College Park for their support in 2012, 2014 and 2016.